7 Reasons You Should Visit Lake Tahoe This Winter

Lake Tahoe is a blissful paradise that straddles California and Nevada, high up in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Most describe it as a Utopian destination. An earthly haven. A place replete with sun, sand, surf, wind, and snow. It’s an epic place to visit, either in the winter or the summer, with plenty to do in every season. In fact, Lake Tahoe is teeming with visitors who flock here in the winter. But also in the summer.

It’s a destination that 3 million visitors descend upon. With a population of roughly 30,000, that certainly exponentially spirals the mass of people in this often-quaint locale in the offseason. Speaking of offseason, there aren’t many “off” months in Lake Tahoe. Since it’s a freshwater lake with warm summer temperatures, and also a peak-filled destination with over a dozen towering resort-filled mountains, summer and winter are flooded with tourists.

In the summer, South Lake Tahoe sees its heavy share of visitors flocking to its golden-sanded beaches. The south is a way more chaotic scene in the summer months. You’ll find your fair share of people looking to party the days and nights away here. 

Now, clearly there are loads of reasons you should visit Tahoe in the summer. But we’re not talking about that right now. We’re talking about why you should visit Lake Tahoe in the winter. There are literally dozens (if not hundreds) of valid reasons to come here. But aside from the specifics, there are 7 overall reasons why you should visit this resplendent earthly haven.

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Lake Tahoe in the Winter

There is sheer beauty in Lake Tahoe in the winter time. It’s an epic sight to see. Snow-blanketed mountainsides. Shimmering turquoise and blue-hued fresh waters. Alpine forests engulfed with Fir and Pine trees that spiral into the heavens. The intoxicating air is replete with crisp mountain scents that offer nostalgia to most who were raised in similar destinations.

It’s pretty clear that Tahoe in the winter is a captivating place. No matter what you decide to do while you’re here, there are many reasons to visit. Not just in the winter. Of course, in the summer as well. But winters are truly epic. Mind-bending landscapes and vistas coupled with an abundance of activities will keep you occupied during your entire stay.

In North Lake Tahoe, winters are serene. There’s an upscale vibe. An intoxicating air. One that embodies and epitomizes rest and relaxation. It’s a luxurious environment filled with some of the most spectacular mountain cabins, high-end homes, mansions, and resorts. If luxury is your speed, then North Lake Tahoe is certainly for you.

1. The Mountains

Lake Tahoe is filled with mountainous peaks. They loom into the heavens, past 10,000 feet in the air, soaring high above the lake waters. The mountains are one of the most dramatic and alluring reasons why you should pay Tahoe a visit this winter. Whether you’re an avid skier or not, there are plenty of things to do on Tahoe’s mountains in the winter.

However, for most people, Tahoe is all about the mountains in the wintry months. From November through February, both North Lake Tahoe and South Lake Tahoe see a massive influx of tourists looking to scale, climb, ski, snowboard, and just about do anything else that involves these snow-blanketed mountains.

If you're visiting Tahoe this coming winter, you’re probably contemplating a stay in North Lake Tahoe. Good choice. That’s where you’ll find 10 glorious peaks. That means an abundance of skiing and snowboarding and more. Whether you’re looking for advanced skiing, or you’re just a beginner, you can find it all here.

Since Lake Tahoe straddles both states, there are mountains in both Nevada and California. These are located in both North Lake Tahoe and South lake Tahoe. If you’re looking to head to a resort, check out our ski guide for a complete breakdown about the mountains you’ll find in Tahoe, the elevations, the drops and more.

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2. The Spas

So you might not be solely interested in skiing or other winter sports. Or, if you are, you might just need some rejuvenation treatments after a long day of carving up the slopes. Either way, there are plenty of spas in Lake Tahoe that you can visit for a relaxing and soothing deep-tissue massage, manicures, pedicures, facials and more.

It’s a great way to wind down. It’s also a blissful way to spend the day with a friend or loved one. Enjoy a hot stone couples massage, followed by a sauna and steam shower. Afterwards, you’ll feel relaxed and revitalized. Cap off the evening with a glass of red wine in front of a fireplace at your cabin.

If you’re looking for a spa in Lake Tahoe, you don’t have to look far. The Ritz-Carlton in Northstar features an incredible spa. So does the Hyatt, which is also located nearby. There are also plenty of day spas in both North Lake and South Lake.

3. The Scenic Beauty

Lake Tahoe offers a world of epic beauty. It’s truly one of the earth’s most awe-inspiring destinations. And it will take your breath away. Most people come to Lake Tahoe in the winter simply to witness this heaven-on-earth intoxicating atmosphere. It’s virtually unrivaled. Snow-capped peaks and Pine tree-engulfed forests beckon you to explore the area.

When the skies are blue and deplete of clouds, a stark contrast fills your vision with elements of wonder. How can a place be so beautiful? In the winter, you won’t do much hiking. But at the top of a gondola ride, as you gaze out, you’re hit with a sparkling wintry wonderland that spills out before your eyes.

It is truly epic. Use snowshoe trails at the top of the mountains to hike around and capture all the scenic beauty and vistas that spread out in front of you. Don’t care to try to hike around in the winter? Why not explore the area in a helicopter? There are year-round tours available where you can do just that.

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4. The Cabins

Lake Tahoe is filled with incredible cabins. In fact, the cabins offer one of the most alluring reasons to pay a visit here in the winter. Some offer a rustic mountain feeling while others offer opulence beyond measure. In fact, some might not even be considered cabins. Some might be considered mansions on the mountains, because they are sprawling homes that spill out over thousands of square feet of luxury and class. To look through InvitedHome's expansive collection of high-end Tahoe cabins, click here.

If you’re trying to decide on where to stay in the winter in Lake Tahoe, opt for the north. You’ll find more peaks and things to do in the winter in North Lake Tahoe than in the south. That doesn't mean you should avoid the south. In fact, one of the most popular destinations in Lake Tahoe is in the south at a community called Sierra Shores.

As far as cabins go in Lake Tahoe, especially in South Lake, it’s probably one of the most sought-after spots. This community boasts 16 luxurious townhomes in either three or four-bedroom configurations. They’re upscale and filled with amenities. Situated directly on the golden sands of Lake Tahoe, they’re also perfectly situated to enjoy the epic beauty of your surroundings.

Still, the north wins by a long stretch when it comes to the winter months. The north is where you’ll find spots like Incline Village and Squaw Valley and Northstar Resort. These are all alluring spots. They’re likely defined as some of the best winter destinations on the planet, let alone in Lake Tahoe. This area is also serene. There’s a sense of quietude that envelops you here. You can just feel it in the air.

However, if you’re heading to the area in the near future, booking a cabin in Tahoe, whether it’s in the north or the south, should be a priority. These epic properties book up fast. So if you’re heading here in the peak winter months, don’t wait until the last minute. At the last minute, the best homes are always booked solid. So if you’re looking to get your pick of the litter, inquire and book early.

5. The Adventure Sports

Lake Tahoe is known for its adventure sports. In the winter, those adventure sports are often skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing and more. On average, you can expect around 125 inches of snow per year in Lake Tahoe. The result? An epic wintry scene of frost-and-snow-covered landscapes that will warm your heart.

If you’re into adventure sports, then Tahoe is definitely the place for you in the winter. But don’t discount the summer. There’s a mountain bike park that’s open in Northstar. That’s the same resort where you’ll find world-class skiing and snowboarding as well. And there’s also Squaw Valley, which was home to the winter Olympics in the not-so-distant past.

In South Lake Tahoe, there’s the wildly-popular Heavenly Gondola. You can ride it to the top and carve up the slopes on the way down. Heavenly has beginner and advanced slopes, perfect for the entire group, no matter what the skill level might be.

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6. The Backcountry

There’s an incredible backcountry in Lake Tahoe. We’re talking about the often-inaccessible routes that most people don’t travel. In the mountains, during the winter in Tahoe, this means access via other means such as snowmobiles and sleigh-rides and snowshoes. Yes. If you’re serious about seeing some virtually untouched backcountry, this is the destination to do that.

Of course, if you don’t feel like going on foot or by snowmobile or by sleigh, you can opt for a helicopter ride. Why not take a heli tour of Lake Tahoe and see every part and parcel of this heavenly destination? If you’re not into helicopters, that’s quite alright. Being on the ground brings you much closer to Mother Nature and all the incredible sights to see at eye-level.

The Alpine forests simply can’t be missed. Take the time to explore Squaw Valley and Alpine Meadows. Check out Homewood and Mount Rose and some of the other epic backcountry that Lake Tahoe has to offer. Not everything will be entirely accessible in the winter. In the summer, you could hike the trails throughout this area. But the winter brings the solitude of the snow. There’s a peaceful air that will fill you with a sense of nostalgia for years to come.

7. The Casinos

Last, but certainly not least in the reasons to visit Lake Tahoe in the winter, are the casinos. Since Tahoe straddles the state of Nevada, where gaming is legal, you’ll find over 16 casinos here around Stateline. Whether you want to pull a few slots or spend the day or night playing craps or blackjack or roulette or poker, this is the place to do it.

From the Grand Lodge Hyatt Casino to Hardrock, Harrah’s and beyond, there are tons of great casinos here. In each, a wide range of dining and entertainment options as well. Dance the night away at one of the clubs or have an incredible meal at a high-end steak restaurant or an all-American meal at one of the burger joints.

No matter what your speed, there’s a casino and a resort to help suit you. While casinos shouldn’t be the only reason why you’d visit Tahoe in the wintertime, they’re definitely a big draw for a large portion of our population. Sure, gambling can be fun. But combine the exhilaration of gambling with all the other wintry fun nearby and you have a recipe for a world-class destination.

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Visiting Lake Tahoe in the Winter

Need even more reasons to plan a Lake Tahoe vacation this winter?

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